By Ian Simpson
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday unveiled a $1.8 billion highway reconstruction plan in New York City's South Bronx aimed at benefiting one of the world's biggest food markets and an area once seen as a symbol of urban blight.
It was the latest public works plan announced by Cuomo at a time when such projects are increasingly on the national agenda. President Donald Trump has vowed to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure, which the American Society of Civil Engineers has given a near-failing grade.
The highway project in the Bronx, the poorest of five boroughs, would rebuild the Bruckner-Sheridan highway interchange to allow the area's largely black and Hispanic residents easier access to parkland and the Bronx River on the other side, Cuomo said.
The plan also calls for new highway ramps to give vehicles direct access to the Hunts Point Market, one of the biggest food distribution sites in the world. Residents have long complained of respiratory problems from the 13,000 trucks daily that spew exhaust as they rumble through local streets.
"The best future for the Bronx is ahead and we're going to lead a Bronx that is better than any Bronx that has ever been," Cuomo said in announcing the project.
The project is expected to generate 4,250 jobs and will be completed in multiple phases, he said. Cuomo has earmarked the $700 million needed for the first stage in this year’s state budget, which is expected to be voted on April 1.
Cuomo's emphasis on public works projects has included a stage of the Second Avenue Subway, renovation of LaGuardia Airport and replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River.